Who was Else Lasker-Schüler? Google Doodle celebrates German poet and artist

ELSE Lasker-Schüler, an eccentric yet imaginative poet and artist, is highlighted in today's Google Doodle.

Described as a "key figure in Berlin's bohemian circles", the Jewish German was assaulted by vile Nazi thugs at the age of 64.

Who was Else Lasker-Schüler?

Born in Elberfeld on February 11, 1869, Elisabeth Schüler was raised in a prominent Jewish family.

Homeschooled by her mum, she was encouraged to experiment and explore her artistic interests.

Over time, she began to develop her voice as a poet.

In 1894, Schüler married Jonathan Lasker and moved to Berlin, where she later published her first poems.

Her work has themes of romantic and sexual longing.

She became a well-known fixture in Berlin’s artistic circles, rubbing elbows in cafes with some of the city’s top literary figures.

Bringing her vivid work to life, the eccentric Lasker-Schüler could be found dressed in flamboyant robes, assuming the alter ego of one of her vibrant characters – Jusuf, Prince of Thebes, who is depicted in today's Doodle.

She would, for example, appear as an Egyptian boy or Persian girl.

Why is Google Doodle celebrating her?

Lasker-Schüler is widely considered one of the greatest lyricists to write in the German language.

On this day in 1937, a Swiss newspaper published her famous poem Mein blaues Klavier – translated as My Blue Piano.

This is referenced in today’s Doodle artwork by the piano keys depicted on the camel’s back, alongside other symbols of Lasker-Schüler's life and work.

My Blue Piano

At home I have a blue piano.

But I can't play a note.

It's been in the shadow of the cellar door

Ever since the world went rotten.

Four starry hands play harmonies.

The Woman in the Moon sang in her boat.

Now only rats dance to the clanks.

The keyboard is in bits.

I weep for what is blue. Is dead.

Sweet angels, I have eaten

Such bitter bread. Push open

The door of heaven. For me, for now

Although I am still alive –

Although it is not allowed.

There are many translated versions of Lasker-Schüler's poem, this one was published in The Washington Post

The Times of Israel says that in 1933, she was beaten in the street by Nazis.

The horrendous assault prompted her to flee Germany.

However, she didn't share her departure plans with mates, and was declared a "missing person" until she was eventually tracked down in Switzerland.

During the final years of her life in Jerusalem, Lasker-Schüler was poor, suffered from bad health and felt isolated.

"She was often seen feeding street cats and birds while talking to them," says the Times.

Her final collection of poems was My Blue Piano – she died in 1945, and was buried in Mt Olives.

What is a Google Doodle?

In 1998, Google founders Larry and Sergey drew a stick figure behind the second 'o' of Google to show they were out of office at the Burning Man festival and with that, Google Doodles were born.

The company decided that they should decorate the logo to mark cultural moments and it soon became clear that users really enjoyed the change to the Google homepage.

Now, there is a full team of doodlers, illustrators, graphic designers, animators and classically trained artists who help create what you see on those days.

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